Time To Wonder
It's good to be here. I'm more welcome at the Brothers at St. Sebastian's than I am to myself, but that's alright for the moment. I know I can't hide here forever, but I do need to decide what I'm going to do with my life in the long run.
I've got to learn how to make plans again, now that everything I've ever planned has failed.
First of all, I go to see Brother Marcus whom I find, not surprisingly, in his workshop. I feel a little self-conscious - I sure didn't keep in touch like I promised the last time. Or the time before.
He seems unperturbed by any broken promises. "Good to see you, Blair," he says, a hint of sadness in his voice, and I start. Could it be that he already knows? Before I get a chance to clear it up, he continues, "I'm really sorry, but I guess there was no other solution, was there?"
It takes me a moment to realize he's talking about the press conference. Right. I choose honesty, because that's why I came here. "God, that's only the tip of the iceberg. It wasn't the only stupid thing I did."
Brother Marcus takes a step back, watching me closely. The scrutiny is just too much for me; I look away. I know the sleeves of my shirt do not completely cover the traces left of the first attempt, and he's bound to come to a conclusion here. The room feels quite stifling at the moment.
There's anger in his voice when he speaks, but it's not directed at me: "So where was Jim, when you decided to give it all up for him - and afterwards?"
I shake my head. "No. It's not Jim's fault. He tried to get me into the academy - but I..." My voice is shaking. It's still a subject made up out of complicated emotions, like deep regret. Like shame. "I failed the evaluation. I didn't know what to do!"
Part of me is still begging for understanding.
"I'm sorry," he says again, then just hugs me close, and I lean into the embrace for a moment, so very relieved it's not the same disappointment I've encountered before. Even though I've certainly shocked him, Brother Marcus doesn't judge.
I'm all cried out, but the words don't stop tumbling out, so much I've never dared to tell anyone, or just didn't have the opportunity to do it - about the shock when, after the press conference, I began to understand the dimensions of my actions for the first time. But hey, no worries, there was an alternative on the horizon. A compromise, sure, but it would allow me to still work with Jim. I wanted to try.
Another door slammed in my face, and then the realization of how much was really lost.
"I don't say this to anybody, but there are moments when I wished they hadn't..." I don't have to clarify. Brother Marcus knows exactly what I'm talking about. "Everything's so complicated now. I've made a perfect mess of things." I also tell him about Jim's offer.
For the first time since I started my narrative, there's a smile on the monk's face. "He sure doesn't give up easily, does he?"
I smile in return, warmed by the memory of Jim telling me about his rather elaborated plans. He'd only forgotten one thing though. "It's quite a prospect, but it's impossible at the moment. The public sure hasn't forgotten about the fraud."
He shrugs. "You'd be surprised; it's yesterday's news, after all, and you know the saying. Blair, I find it amazing to what lengths you are both ready to go to protect each other. It's a great thing, but why don't you two simply talk?"
As if it was that simple..., I think later, alone in my cell. It's the same they gave Jim and me on our first visit here together, and I'm sure the Brothers mean to tell me something here, but at the moment I'm finding it hard to keep an open mind.
Sometimes it seems that good memories are only there to mock you, a reminder of a better life that's lost to you. When I feel that way, it's like a dark cloud that's covering the sun, I see it happen, but cannot stop it.
It's not only the sadness. The foundation of this state is fear; I've got to change something, got to move on, but I don't know how. At the moment, I might be safe, but what about tomorrow, next week, next year? I feel like crying again, but fight the impulse. This would be the moment where you pick up the phone and... but no, I don't want to call Jim either. I promised him I'd keep it together.
The crying inside does not stop.
I still think it was right to go away, but what will come after the days I spend here?
I have to make a decision; Brother Marcus said that, and if I'm honest, I've known it all along.
I want to live. I really do. Finding steady ground again after the rug has been pulled from under your feet; that's the problem. I don't know if I'll ever get there again. And that prospect scares me more than picking up that razor to end it all did. At least I was making a choice then.
What am I doing here, what good will it do?
It all comes down to the same thing - choices.
I choose to live, I tell that to the darkness that's flirting with me so insistently, holding me in its embrace. Just don't stay so close...